One batch Half-Hour Honey-Olive Oil Challah
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves,
washed and dried, plus more for garnish
1 clove garlic
¼ cup walnuts
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, halved, optional
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips, optional
4-6 cherry tomatoes, halved, optional
Fresh basil, for garnish, optional
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade attachment, place basil, garlic, walnuts, salt and pepper. Process for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add olive oil, and process until smooth. Set aside.
2. Sprinkle work surface generously with flour.
3. Cut dough into three pieces.
see step-by-step photos for assembly of steps 4 through 9
4. One at a time, roll out each piece into a long rectangle, about 24”x12”. Spread with ¼ cup pesto, and sprinkle with olives and sundried tomatoes, if using.
5. Tightly roll up into a log, rolling away from you, as you would a deli roll. Reposition the log so it is lying vertically.
6. Starting about an inch down from the top (so the top remains connected), use a very sharp knife to make a slit down the middle of the log lengthwise, slicing all the way through.
7. Take the two halves and carefully cross them over each other until you have a long twist.
8. Take the top and curve it over to the right in a spiral design, stopping halfway down. Take the other end of the roll and spiral it in the opposite direction, to the left.
9. Tuck both ends in.
10. Repeat with the other pieces of dough, and carefully transfer the swirls to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
11. Gently press cherry tomatoes and basil into openings in the dough so they stay in place.
12. Let rest for 10 minutes.
13. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
14. Bake for 15-20 minutes. When loaves are ready, brush with reserved oil from the sun-dried tomatoes while still hot. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Makes 3 twists